In as much as my old friend, General Alfred M. Gruenther, is widely known as "The Brain," it should come as no great surprise that he is probably the best-qualified bridge player in all those circles connected with his illustrious career.

Indeed, General Gruenther, now president of the American Red Cross and formerly Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, was first accorded a rank equivalent to Supreme Commander by the bridge players. In the early '30s, while still a mere first lieutenant serving as an instructor at West Point, he directed the most important bridge tournaments in this country—and, incidentally, set a standard which has not since been excelled. Despite his martinetlike conduct of their tourneys (or perhaps because of it), Al Gruenther carved out for himself a niche in the respect and affection of bridge players that has never been approached by anyone else.

As for the general's playing skill—well, I for one consider the following sample impressive:

North-South vulnerable West aealer

NORTH

[King of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

WEST

[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[8 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

EAST

[8 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[9 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]

WEST

1 [Spade]
DOUBLE

NORTH

DOUBLE
PASS

EAST

4 [Spade]
PASS

SOUTH

6 [Diamond]
PASS

Opening lead: spade queen

General Gruenther was South and, when his partner managed (by dredging rather deep!) to find the values for a vulnerable takeout double of the spade bid, the general would have had to demote himself several ranks if he had failed to bid the slam in diamonds.

East's nonvulnerable leap in spades was, of course, a desperate effort to forestall drastic enemy action, and it was bad bridge for West to double the slam, despite his feeling that he had three suits pretty well tied up. Far from hurting the declarer, the double could only have a helpful effect by indicating the exact location of the outstanding strength. Still, it is only fair to observe that few declarers would be able to take full advantage of the information as General Gruenther did.

West led the spade queen and, when the anemic dummy was revealed, the general could not be delighted by what he saw. However, in the best tradition of his profession, he settled down for some long-range planning—and with excellent effect.

Wasting no time or entries on trump-drawing, at the second trick declarer led the deuce of hearts. West had to duck or surrender 12 tricks then and there. When dummy's heart queen held, declarer discarded his heart king on North's king of spades. Then he ruffed a heart, starting the elimination of that suit. A trump to the 9 permitted the ruffing away of dummy's last heart, and declarer then led to the trump king to play the spade 9.

West's opening lead of the spade queen had strongly indicated the sequence Q-J-10; the general's master plan had been based on that logical inference, plus the fact that West was marked with the king of clubs. So declarer simply discarded a club on the spade 9, giving the trick to West. Now it was up to that defender to "get out" if he could.

Obviously, there was no escape for West. If he led a major-suit card, the general would ruff in dummy while he got rid of his last club loser. When West actually elected to return a club, declarer ducked in dummy and won with his queen. The only trick the general lost was one he did not need to surrender but which, when presented to the enemy, maneuvered the latter into a trap from which there was no successful retreat.

EXTRA TRICK
In a surprisingly great proportion of cases, trump-drawing is not the first order of business, as so many players seem to think it is. The priority must always be given to the timing of declarer's attack and its corollary, the proper utilization of entries.

PHOTO
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)